Unless you want the neighbors peeking in, curtains are one of those pretty home buys that are also a total necessity. However, custom window coverings are astronomically expensive and far out of the budget for most folks.
Even at so-called discount stores like Walmart and Target, one single curtain panel can cost a pretty penny, ranging from $29-$89 each. That may not seem like much — until you factor in how many you’ll need for your entire house. Plus, hanging hardware is frustrating and time-consuming.
But with a little bit of ingenuity, you can save tons of money on drapery. Read on for our favorite hacks for cheap window coverings that look like a million bucks.
1. Look chic with drop cloth curtains
Linen drapes are super pricey. Regular old drop cloths, on the other hand, are super cheap.
One of the hottest DIY curtain trends circling the internet is no-sew drop cloth curtains, which are easy to make, easy to wash, and incredibly durable. The weight and texture are perfect for a variety of rooms, and the neutral color works with most décor.
Find a 5-minute tutorial here.
2. Use shower curtains on your windows
Even though they have roughly the same amount of fabric, shower curtains are often way less expensive than curtain panels, and they come in some fun patterns and styles that look great on windows. A standard shower curtain is 72 inches long, which is a good length for many windows.
Also, since shower curtains are so wide, you can cut one panel in half to make two window coverings, saving even more money. Either sew up the cut side or use iron-on adhesive tape to finish them. Attach them to your curtain rod with café clips, or glue on ribbon to make your own rod pockets.
3. Turn regular flat sheets into curtains
Like shower curtains, flat sheets are often cheaper than actual curtains and also come in a variety of patterns and weights. Again, since sheets are so wide, you can easily cut one in half to create multiple curtains for a fraction of the cost.
Use iron-on hem tape to hide the seam if you aren’t a sewing expert. Find a full tutorial here.
4. Make a valance from a tablecloth
Chances are you have some old tablecloths lying around, and they probably even match your kitchen’s color scheme. Put them to better use by creating a pretty window valance for over the sink, and hang it with a tension rod and café clips rather than wasting money on a traditional curtain.
Get the easy-as-pie tutorial here.
5. Hang PVC curtain rods
Curtain rods are weirdly overpriced – but hanging curtains doesn’t have to be.
A few brilliant DIY bloggers figured out that cheap PVC piping is a great substitute for pricey metal rods. With a quick coat of spray paint, your houseguests won’t even be able to tell the difference. Shelly Detton at 7 Layer Studio outfitted her entire room for less than $20 — and it looks fantastic.
Find the full tutorial for achieving this wallet-friendly curtain hack here.
6. Create conduit curtain rods
The industrial look is so “in” right now, but the hardware is costly. Rather than dropping over $100 at West Elm for a single curtain rod, head to your local home improvement store and pick up a few pieces of conduit instead. With a little bit of spray paint and imagination, you can have a knockoff that looks just as good for under $30.
Check out the tutorial here.
7. Easily create Roman shades with plastic mini blinds
Plastic mini blinds are cheap, but not exactly pretty. Meanwhile, high-quality custom Roman shades cost an arm and a leg.
If you love the look of Roman shades but hate to pay full retail, try making your own with nothing but scissors, glue, fabric, and plastic mini blinds. Get the tutorial here.
8. Upgrade ugly roller blinds
One of the most cost-effective ways to cover your windows is with basic white roller blinds, but they can look a little cheap. If you choose to go the roller blind route, buy some inexpensive fabric from your local craft store and use a glue gun to attach it to the shade to make them look more upscale.
Find the tutorial here.